Consumer fears hitting business

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Business in the UK is suffering due to a crisis in confidence among consumers, says a panel of Yorkshire business people.

Members of the Yorkshire Shadow Monetary Police Committee (MPC), a group of influential business leaders who meet to discuss the economic picture, said fears over the eurozone had led to a reluctance among the public to spend. The retail and property sectors were said to have had a particularly “tough year”.

But the panel was divided over the issue of quantitative easing., with half the members calling for more money to be injected into the economy.

Jonathan Isles, of property agents Dacres, said: “Last year saw a steady decline (in the property sector) after a stable 2010. It’s not to do with money as borrowing ability is the same as it’s always been in the recession.

“Confidence is just not there. There are too many reasons for home owners just to say: ‘If we don’t really need to move, why would we?’”

The discussions come only a day ahead of a meeting of the Bank of England’s MPC at which members are expected to agree to expand the quantitative easing programme from £275bn to £325bn.

Andrew MacHutchon, of the Federation of Small businesses, said: “Retail sales are down – consumers are saving more rather than spending.

“I think we are just on the edge and we do need a little bit of impetus to get us over this lip – the only game is quantitative easing.”